Psychic’s century-old tax dropped in Fortuna, Calif.

AP, Aug. 25, 2002

FORTUNA, Calif. (AP) — Fortune telling is safe in Fortuna.

The City Council has repealed a century-old ordinance taxing psychics and fortune tellers $10 a day, thanks to an entrepreneur who’s predicting success for a warehouse selling sundry metaphysical accouterments.

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Zera Starchild, co-owner of Doorway Publications and 10th Street Gifts, had hoped to begin reading cards some believe can predict the future.

But first, she decided to check city regulations and discovered a 1906 law levying the daily fee.

According to the law: “Every person conducting, managing or carrying on the business of astrology, palmistry, phrenology, life reading, fortune telling, crystal gazing, hypnotism or any occult science … shall be charged a license fee of ten dollars per day in advance.”

Over a year, the fee could have amounted to as much as $3,650, far more than any other business in the city would have to pay in fees. The City Council voted to repeal it Monday.

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